What Happened To The Former Host Of Food Network's Unwrapped?

The durable, fascinating, and celebratory how-it's-made show "Unwrapped" ran often on Food Network for more than a decade, capably and authoritatively hosted by TV stalwart Marc Summers. "Unwrapped," one of the best Food Network shows of all time, aired for so long, and uncovered the secrets of processed and popular foods for so many fans, that it opened Summers up to a whole new audience. It showed he could do things besides the role with which he was formerly permanently linked: as the host of Nickelodeon's 1980s kids' game show "Double Dare." By 2011, Summers was a household name and a friendly TV face for multiple generations of Americans who enjoyed watching the star send tweens through sloppy stunts involving food, and then also explain with a patient and curious tone how many of those same foods are created and distributed.

Since the original production run of Food Network's "Unwrapped" was canceled, Summers has moved on to other things, and he's remained quite busy in many niches of the entertainment industry, food-based and otherwise, while also dealing with personal tragedies and triumphs. Here's what's been going on with "Unwrapped" host Marc Summers.

Marc Summers revealed he had cancer

In 2015, Marc Summers announced that during the time when he would've been filming the final episodes of "Unwrapped," he was privately dealing with a frightening medical diagnosis. In 2009, he experienced stomach pain so severe that he sought medical attention. Doctors operated immediately to treat the condition, and surgically extracted more than 17 inches of Summers' small intestine.

When the anesthesia wore off, Summers jokingly asked his doctor if he also had cancer. "And he says, 'As a matter of fact, you do,'" Summers remembered to People. Told he had a condition called mantle cell lymphoma, Summers believed he had about half of a year to live. A second opinion from another oncologist four months later correctly diagnosed the issue as chronic lymphocytic lymphoma, a potentially less immediately fatal form of cancer. Summers went through two years of chemotherapy treatments before the cancer went into remission.

In 2019, a then 68-year-old Summers announced that the current "Double Dare" live show tour he was hosting would mark his final involvement with the franchise. His retirement was over medical concerns. "I got diagnosed with cancer for the third time a few weeks ago," he told KTLA. "And my doctor said to me, 'You can't do this anymore.'"

Marc Summers hit the stage

Through a series of happy accidents, game show host and Food Network personality Marc Summers became a playwright and stage star. In 2011, he'd been cast as dance show host Vince Fontaine in a small production of the musical "Grease" in Beach Haven, New Jersey. Another cast member introduced him to Broadway actor Alex Brightman, and he and Summers started working on a script about the "Unwrapped" host's life and work.

The show Brightman and Summers created, "The Life and Slimes of Marc Summers," has a lot of highs and lows, re-creating moments from the star's career as well as difficult experiences in dealing with a serious case of obsessive-compulsive disorder. There's also an audience participation element. "The Life and Slimes of Marc Summers," starring Summers as himself, debuted at the Bloomington Playwrights Project in Indiana in 2016 before touring mid-major cities in 2017. At the Buffalo stop, he met a theatrical director who planted the idea of staging the show in the American theatrical headquarters of New York City. In 2024, the one-man show went up at New World Stages, an Off-Broadway venue.

Marc Summers was injured in a very bad car accident

In August 2012, Marc Summers flew home to Philadelphia, the base of operations for his TV production work, after taping an episode of "Restaurant Impossible" in Kansas City. He arrived in the middle of a summer rainstorm and hailed a taxi. "The weather was horrific. There was a torrential downpour and the driver was talking on the phone and driving too fast," Summers told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "He started to hydroplane and hit the divider on I-95."

Summers suffered multiple serious and potentially disfiguring injuries in the accident. At the moment of impact, his face made violent contact with the cab's partition-mounted credit card reader, which broke the majority of the bones in his face. Reconstructive surgeons at Penn Medicine meticulously restored Summers' appearance while he recovered, a process that took many months. "My left eye isn't where it's supposed to be and the ripped skin from where I hit the credit card machine hasn't healed properly," Summers told People. "There's a divot under my eye so there's dead tissue." Summers additionally suffered from vision issues for years after the accident.

Marc Summers brought back Double Dare

Nickelodeon embraced its legacy programming in 2018, and aired a revived and revamped version of "Double Dare" in the summer of 2018. Celebrity guest stars from old Nick shows like "All That" and "Zoey 101" participated in the show, hosted by actor Liza Koshy. Marc Summers was of course around for the reboot, serving as an executive producer and acting as a live commentator for the show's outrageous and messy stunts. A second season commenced, but the show was canceled before those last episodes aired. Around the time that the end of the new "Double Dare" was announced, Summers announced that the ongoing "Double Dare Live" tour that he hosted would also end, at the conclusion of 2019. "Last time I will ever perform this show," he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

In the 2010s, Summers also hosted and helped make a live-action, adult-oriented "Double Dare" happen in his adopted hometown of Philadelphia. In association with Philly Beer Week 2012, Summers staged "Dunkel Dare," or "drunken 'Double Dare,'" as he told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It gives the people what they want. Let's go back to when we were young. Add liquor and the original guy who comes out and screws with the audience."

Marc Summers received the documentary treatment

Marc Summers is a show business lifer with an often harrowing backstory. Those are the kinds of things that make for a viable documentary feature, and in 2017, Summers' life, work, and struggles became the basis for the film "On Your Marc," directed by Nickelodeon historian Matthew Klickstein. The documentary, named for its subject and a stunt-opening line from most episodes of Summers' "Double Dare," takes place amid the TV veteran's emotional debut staging of his one-man autobiographical theatrical show, "The Life and Slimes of Marc Summers." 

"On Your Marc" offers a rare intimate and unpolished look at a consummate professional, particularly in how Summers coped with some truly dark moments in dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder privately and on the sets of his television series. He also discusses how he didn't publicly disclose his cancer diagnosis out of fear that it would end his career.

The film also shows off the little-heralded impact Summers had on Food Network. Not only did he host "Unwrapped" for well over a decade, but he mentored and advanced the careers of fellow on-screen hosts like Guy Fieri, who had never seen Food Network before becoming their next star.

Marc Summers poked fun at himself

Marc Summers achieved a certain level of casual, undeniable fame, garnered from years hosting "Double Dare," a generational touchstone of a game show that ran on Nickelodeon throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and then heading up "Unwrapped" for Food Network. His name, face, and voice are well known and well liked, and with his active hosting days mostly behind him, Summers has capitalized on his reputation and status by frequently showing up to play himself (and engage in a little self-deprecating fun) in nostalgia-minded projects.

When rock band Good Charlotte staged a re-creation of a "Double Dare" episode for its music video for the 2011 single "Last Night," Summers appeared as himself, playing host and lip-syncing a few bars. That same year, Summers turned in a cameo on "Workaholics" when the titular slackers commandeer his services to tape an "Unwrapped"-esque segment about a food truck (which consumers should be more worried about). Summers played both himself and a dating game show host on episodes of the stop-motion-animated "Robot Chicken" and voiced himself on game show-oriented episodes of "The Loud House" and "Sanjay and Craig." On a 2012 episode of "The Cleveland Show," Summers gave voice to an unnamed host (who rocks Summers' "Double Dare"-era blazer-and-sneakers combo) of the "Double Dare"-esque "Dare Squared."

Marc Summers moved to the other side of the camera

Already in the door at Food Network because of his hosting duties at the perennially running "Unwrapped," Marc Summers moved into a career stage of not just appearing on food-based TV programs, but developing them and helping them get on the air. Since the mid-2000s, he has worked as an executive producer on many cable series, including the "Unwrapped" spinoff "Trivia Unwrapped," the dramatic reality shows "Dinner Impossible" and "Restaurant Impossible," and "The Grill Dads." He's also worked behind the scenes on shows like "$24 in 24," "Food Feuds," and "Bar Rescue."

Summers also helped the hosts of some of those shows make a name for themselves in television. When Guy Fieri won "The Next Food Network Star," Summers was acting as host, and he took the chef under his wing. "He came to L.A., and I drove him around to a bunch of different agents," Summers told People, adding that he helped secure representation for Fieri. The host-turned-producer revealed in 2023 that he was also a vital early supporter of the eventually media-dominant Ryan Seacrest. "He worked for me on a show called 'Ultimate Revenge' that we did on Spike, and we've been friends ever since. I've known him since he was 19 years old," Summers said at '90s Con 2023 (via CinemaBlend) "He's a good guy."

Marc Summers didn't like Quiet on Set

In 2024, Investigation Discovery aired the multi-part documentary Nickelodeon exposé "Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV." Through numerous interviews with actors and crew members, the production revealed the pervasive toxicity, various kinds of abuse, inappropriate workplace behavior from adults against minors, and allegations of sexual assault on young actors. The vast majority of claims revolved around shows produced by Dan Schneider, who built an empire of youth sitcoms at Nickelodeon in the 2000s. Nevertheless, "Quiet on Set" producers approached Marc Summers, one of the biggest names associated with Nickelodeon, albeit in the 1980s and 1990s as the host of "Double Dare," long before Schneider ascended to a position of power at the network. 

Summers was displeased with his participation in the documentary because he wasn't informed of its nature and intent before he sat down in front of cameras. "They asked me what I thought of Nick, and the first 10 to 12 seconds, from what I understand, in this documentary is me saying all these wonderful things," Summers told "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show" (via E! News). "But they did a bait-and-switch on me. They ambushed me. They never told me what this documentary was really about." Summers was so incensed that he abruptly ended his interview and walked off the set.

Marc Summers helmed other Food Network shows after Unwrapped

One of the longest-running shows in Food Network history, "Unwrapped" wrapped up in 2011 after more than a decade and airing in excess of 300 episodes. But the series was so entrenched in the lineup and the identity of Food Network that it didn't stay on hiatus for long, especially since host Marc Summers refused to let the franchise die. "We had all this footage from 15 years of 'Unwrapped,'" he told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2014. "How could we, as they say in the industry, repurpose that?" All that unused video became the basis for "Rewrapped," a "Chopped"-style reboot of "Unwrapped" where professional chefs were tasked with replicating the recipes for snack foods seen in clips. Joey Fatone hosted the show, while Summers headed up the judges panel for two dozen episodes.

Summers remained an on-screen personality across many Food Network shows, turning in cameos or appearing as a judge on "Guy's Grocery Games," "The Best Thing I Ever Ate," and "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," when he wasn't in charge of hosting "Ultimate Recipe Showdown" (a show with a detailed history) and early seasons of "The Next Food Network Star."

Marc Summers is a podcaster now

In his early 70s, Marc Summers' time in the visual media spotlight might be coming to an end. It's something that he's come to accept. "It's the only industry in the world where the more experience you have, the less they want you," Summers explained to the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I could host a game, talk, or reality series in a nanosecond, but they're looking at people, with all due respect, that I've never heard of. I get it. There's a changing of the guard every 20 years."

Summers subsequently started up that talk show he wanted to do, in the form of a podcast. Since 2023, with co-creator and podcaster Jessica Richmond, Summers has produced and hosted "Marc Summers Unwraps." In each episode he interviews an actor, television host, comedian, or entrepreneur, picking their brain to find out their origin story, and how they succeeded in their respective field. The title "Marc Summers Unwraps" alludes to the name of the host's successful Food Network educational series, but according to the audio show's website, the venture is all about  "overcoming obstacles."